Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Pulau Batu Puteh: Singapore urged to stop all construction works

KUALA LUMPUR Dec 23 - Singapore should stop all existing construction works on Pulau Batu Puteh, pending settlement on the outstanding issue of its ownership between the two countries, the Government Backbenchers Club (BBC) said today.

"The Singapore government should not erect structure on the island because it has no absolute rights to it as yet," BBC chairman Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed told reporters after a Hari Raya get-together with the staff of Parliament here.

Singapore, it was reported, has started building a two-storey building and a helicopter landing pad on the island, which is located 13 km from Pengarang in Johor and 40 km from the east coast of the island republic.

Mohd Zin said the BBC strongly objected to the move by Singapore and would deliver a protest note to its high commission here.

He said all construction activities on the island should cease as Singapore and Malaysia had agreed that the dispute be resolved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.

The Kongres India Muslim Malaysia (Kimma), in protesting the move, viewed Singapore's action as an attempt to seize the island from Malaysia.

"Singapore should respect Malaysia's decision in allowing it to manage the island's lighthouse and not to act as though wanting to seize the island by erecting any structure it likes," it said in a statement issued here.

The lighthouse was built during the British era.

Kimma added that Singapore's action is a challenge to Malaysia.

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